Kenya orders Safaricom to shut down betting payments


The government has ordered Safaricom and Airtel telecommunication companies to withdraw the paybill numbers of 27 betting firms operating in the country over failure to meet renewal requirements.

Top betting firms that have been affected by the directive include SportPesa.

The order comes weeks after the State said it had refused to renew operating permits for 19 gambling firms and deferred eight others in a shake-up of an industry that generates more than Sh200 billion in annual sales.

Safaricom says the orders, which will affect 12 million betting accounts, has left it at a crossroads because some of the accounts have money and some firms like SportPesa and Betin have secured orders to continue operating.

The board said the renewal of the licences is dependent on operations and directors of the firms getting a clean bill of health in an ongoing security vetting process.